Dog Behavior

Aggressive behavior is any behavior that is meant to intimidate or harm a person or another animal. It's apparent a big issue for many dog owners is the aggressive behavior that dog owners are confronted with. If your dog is young, now is the time to act. Your first step in correcting the behavior is to understand the different types of aggression and get to the root of the aggression. Does your dog behave aggressively towards other dogs, members of the family, strangers, or both?

Types of Aggression:

  • Dominant Aggression
  • Territorial Aggression
  • Fear Aggression
  • Prey or Predatorial Aggression

Dominant Aggression:

Most dogs are at ease to let their owners be in charge. As puppies, we teach them what we want them to learn but some dogs have a harder time obeying there commands. Dominant aggressive behavior typically occurs in male dogs, between 18 and 36 months old, that have reached social maturity.

A dominantly aggressive dog may growl if he is disturbed, bites, growls or snaps at people on a regular basis, ignores commands or guards toys and food.


When you're at home, avoid triggering aggressive reactions in your dog as much as possible. If it is the couch or some furniture that is the resource they which to guard then make it off limits. Block off areas of the house that could cause conflict, such as bedrooms and the living rooms contianing that cherished chair or bed. Respond to aggressive behavior in a calm and cheerful voice to relieve tension and encourage good behavior by rewarding your dog with praise and treats as soon as it occurs.

What NOT to Do:

  • Punishment won't help and, in fact, will often make the problem worse. If the aggression is motivated by fear, punishing your dog will make your dog more fearful and more aggressive.

Territorial Aggression:

Some owners appreciate their dog's warning barks and guarding behavior around the house but it can be embarrassing for an owner and potentially dangerous to human and/or dog visiting your the property. When we observe aggression in our dogs to other dogs on their home turf but not on neutral territory, this is likely territorial aggression. Some dogs bark and charge at people or other animals that attempt to visit on their home turf. Male and female dogs are equally prone to territorial aggression. This behavior usually appears as puppies mature into adolescence or adulthood, at one to three years of age.

Fear Aggression:

Known as the fight or flight response. People and animals when frightened choose to move away from what is frightening them but when the flight response is not an option the fight response kicks in mode and your dog tries to defend themself from what is scarring them. Men and children are the most common objects of this aggression. Fear aggressive dogs are not aggressive to all strangers; often they single out certain types of people. Lack of socialization or unfortunate experiences with strangers during the 3 to 12 weeks of age plants the sead for fear aggression.

Some dogs will cower at the person or animal in question but when then they attempt to leave you may see your dog sneak up from behind and take a nip. Keep an eye on your dogs posture and attempts to lunge.

Prey or Predatorial Aggression:

It probably seems to most of us that chasing a squirrel, cat or other small animal is something our dogs just do. Dogs are closely related to wolves and coyotes, both of whom are large predators, and our beloved dogs still show some classic canine predatory behaviors.

Many dogs like to chase fast moving objects. Whether it be another animal a person on a bicycle, people running, inline skating or cars, sometimes they may just catch whatever animal it is that they are chasing and may even kill it. A predatory dog doesn’t growl or show it's teeth to warn the victim, so predatory aggression can seem to come out of the blue.

Return from Dog Behavior to homemade pet food